At his peak, New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana was one of the best left-handers of a generation. However, Santana has been shelved for over a year as a result of shoulder surgery, and he will miss the rest of the 2013 season.
There has been a growing movement that Santana could retire, as his massive 6-year, $137.5 million contract ends at the end of 2013, but he has reportedly stated that he “plans” to pitch in 2014. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Santana’s agent reportedly relayed his sentiment that he “isn’t going out like this”, and that his client is in full preparation for a strong return.
In 2012, Santana performed extremely well in the first half of the season, posting a 3.24 ERA that included the first no-hitter in Mets history. However, the wheels came off in the second half, and it was apparent that Santana’s shoulder gave out in a major way. The 34-year-old missed the duration of the 2011 season, but when he has been “healthy” in New York and Minnesota, he has been absolutely lights-out at times.
With over a year and a half of rehab on the devastating shoulder injury, it isn’t out of the question to suggest that Santana could be effective in 2014. However, it will be extremely interesting to see how much interest he commands in free agency, and it is certainly not a given that he will have the same level of effectiveness when he returns. At any rate, let’s hope that one of the best pitchers of this era can get it righted before he exits for good.